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Companionships in solitude: solitude, friendship and self-cultivation in Nietzsche and the Zhuangzi

Flavel, S (2017) 'Companionships in solitude: solitude, friendship and self-cultivation in Nietzsche and the Zhuangzi.' Journal of Shanghai Normal University (Philosophy & Social Sciences). ISSN 1004-8634 (Forthcoming)

Abstract

In this article I consider the roles of solitude and friendship in the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche and Zhuangzi. I focus on the significance of these two modes of activity in their respective accounts of self-cultivation. In the course of the discussion I make the following claims. Firstly, I show that for neither thinker is the self conceived as discreet or self-contained in any straightforward sense and I therefore suggest that typifying either of them as individualist or self-centred thinkers is problematically reductive. I then show how their accounts of self-cultivation call into question the basic distinction between inner (that is, solitary/individual) and outer (namely, socio-political) life. I conclude by claiming that for both thinkers, our relationships to specific forms of otherness — here exemplified through the figure of the antagonistic friend— provide a crucial context for the task of self-cultivation, particularly to the extent that we can experience such otherness as radically and irreducibly different from us.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: College of Liberal Arts
Date Deposited: 06 Mar 2017 09:52
Last Modified: 06 Mar 2017 12:44
URI: http://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/9377
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